Last night the streets of the Castro filled with Santas. Some in fishnets and heels and others with long white beards. Some said, "I'm Santa, bitch," while crossing Market street and strutting down Church. It was raining in America's gayest city. They filled a bar and I don't even know what was happening among all that red velvet and polyester. Toward the back there was no authority, no rule of law, just baggy red pants around fleshy ankles, Santa gripping the white sink in his fists.
They do it every year, these gay Santas. It made me think of the war on Christmas. I wondered if it was a war we could win. If you were a soldier how would you ever know which one was the real Santa and would it matter? Would it matter when innocents die in every war?
I thought about the gunner, painting the toy factory on the north pole, guiding home the missiles that never missed, and the bloodied elves emerging from the wreckage reminding him of his own children and his broken marriage. I thought about the facts on the ground, a bar full of Santas. I thought, I wonder what this place will look like when the war on christmas is over? Will we remember to liberate when we're done occupying? How will we treat our soldiers, home from the pole, their hands still numb from melting ice caps, forever changed in a war of choice they were not asked to understand? And will they jump when they hear noises? Will they wake in the night dreaming of fiery sleighs hurtling toward their chimneys like missiles full of death?